February 2016                                                                        Volume 2, Number 5
Supreme Court Declines NAGPRA Case Affecting
Kumeyaay Nation

CILS successfully defeated three University of California professors' legal challenge to block repatriation of ancient Kumeyaay human remains. Tim White et al. v. University of California et al. and Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee (KCRC).

The professors' petition for a writ of certiorari was denied on January 28, 2016.

"We are delighted with this news and hopefully the conclusion of this very long litigation. This has been a long and at times painful struggle for the Kumeyaay Tribes and they are relieved to know that it is over and that they will finally take possession of their ancestors' remains. My client will be working with the University of California on the next steps to complete repatriation," said Dorothy Alther, Executive Director of California Indian Legal Services.

CILS Announces New Advisory Board
The CILS Board of Trustees selected Jim Ham, a former member of the Board of Trustees and law partner at Pansky Markle Ham LLP, and Mary Ann Andreas, the Vice Chairperson at Morongo Band of Mission Indians, as Co-Chairs of the newly formed Advisory Board.

 "The next several years promise to be exciting ones for CILS," said Dorothy Alther, Executive Director of CILS. "The organization will continue to have a positive impact on the communities we serve and the Advisory Board will play a central role in this important work."

Jim Ham, Co-Chair of the Advisory Board stated, "This board was established to provide non-policy support to both the Board of Trustees and Staff, particularly in the areas of resource development and public relations. The Advisory Board's purpose is to lend expertise and experience to CILS, represent CILS in the community, contribute to CILS' financial development and involve others in the positive work of CILS."
The Advisory Board will include individuals with strong reputations and leadership experience within Indian Country, senior law firm management, former Board and staff members, and other interested and engaged individuals who have a firm commitment to the work and values of CILS in improving the quality of life for all California Indians.
Interested in helping CILS defend cultural traditions, protect the integrity of Native American families and communities, and champion human rights? CILS is looking for additional Advisory Board members. 

New CILS Website Launched
CILS launched a new website on January 22, 2016. The updated website has information on: the CILS history, Staff, Board of Trustees, financial reports and annual reports. A new section has been added about our work and current cases. A portal of self-help and community education publications that we offer on topics like child welfare, Indian ancestry, cultural resources, taxes and community presentation is available to assist California Indians find legal resources. The new website also includes a blog of the latest CILS news. The contact page includes the location of our 4 offices, how to request legal services and client eligibility criteria, areas of practice, and more.  Visit the new CILS website.

CILS Board of Trustees Elects New Chairperson and
Vice Chairperson
The CILS Board of Trustees elected Mark Romero, a member and past Chairman of the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians, as its new Chairman, and Victorio Shaw, a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe and currently  the California Tribal College Project Strategist for Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, as its new vice-chairman.
 "We are pleased and honored to have Mark's and Victorio's continued leadership and support on the CILS Board," said Dorothy Alther, Executive Director of CILS. "The dedication and commitment of such prominent members of California Indian Country enable CILS to continue to serve all California Indian communities."
The Board also seated two new Board members, Joe Ayala and Jessica Warne.  Mr. Ayala is the Principal Deputy Legislative Counsel for the State of California, and comes to the Board  as a State Bar representative.  Ms. Warne, Principal of the Law Offices of Jessica Warne and former CILS law clerk, takes her seat as a community representative.
The members of the Board of Trustees play an integral role in ensuring the long-term sustainability and growth of CILS.
CILS Attorneys Attend Career Day at Sherman Indian High School
Escondido Senior Attorney Mark Radoff, discusses what Indian lawyers do with the students at Sherman High School Career Day.
In November CILS' Escondido attorneys Mark Radoff and Mark Vezzola participated in career day at Sherman Indian High School in Riverside, California. Sherman, one of the last government-operated Indian boarding schools in the country, draws students nationwide. Boarding schools which were once designed to assimilate Indian youth have, over time, become a pathway to college. Sherman's  annual event showcases college representatives and tribal-related professionals to encourage high school students to consider their future options. Over thirty students stopped by the CILS table to ask questions about how one becomes a lawyer and what exactly is meant by the phrase "federal Indian law". Some students were surprised to learn that not all lawyers are rich, and were introduced to the distinctions between public interest, legal services and private law firms. Most youths were engaged and had some familiarity with aspects of  the law, such as individual and juvenile rights, and tribal land disputes such as taxation and treaties. CILS was invited to return this spring to give a presentation on Indian law.
Good News on ICWA Cases
Mark Vezzola, Escondido office Directing Attorney, recently received good news on three of his ICWA cases. In two cases the children were returned to their parents' care as part of family maintenance plans and in the third case the Court terminated jurisdiction (closing the case) with successful mother-child reunification. Not all of our cases have such happy endings.
CILS Job Openings

Job Description:
The Staff Attorney will work collaboratively with other staff to provide exceptional legal services in all areas of federal Indian law. Our fast-paced office provides legal services on issues of jurisdiction, tax, estate planning, trust assets, environmental law, natural resource development, tribal governance, employment and the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Staff Attorney will assume a varied case load that may include: brief counsel and services to low-income Indian individuals; state and federal court litigation; contract negotiation; advising tribal clients; developing and implementing constitutions, codes, and policies for tribal clients; making presentations; and ICWA-related dependency cases.

Position Description:
With support from the California Bar Foundation, CILS is hiring a summer fellow for 2016. Supervised by the Staff Attorney, this fellow will conduct research, draft correspondence and legal documents, work with office staff and potentially assist with client intake.

About the California Bar Foundation Public Interest Legal Fellowship Program
Launched in 2015, the California Bar Foundation's Public Interest Legal Fellowship Program supports diverse rising 3Ls and recent law school graduates who are committed to representing low-income and underserved populations in California. We fund leading California legal aid agencies who are committed to building diverse, inclusive staff environments to receive a summer or yearlong legal fellow.

Indian Child Welfare Act Experts
Who does CILS represent? Indian Tribes
The goal of CILS in the area of Indian child welfare is to increase compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and related state laws, and to ensure that regardless of their eventual placement, Indian children maintain important ties to their tribal communities. CILS' success in ICWA matters directly affects the environments and cultural connections of hundreds of Indian children living in California. CILS represents both in-state and out-of-state tribes in California court proceedings, including dependency, delinquency, and probate guardianship when the ICWA is applicable. When the ICWA applies to these types of cases, CILS' experience and knowledge makes us an expert in ensuring compliance with the ICWA and applicable state laws.

CILS routinely intervenes on behalf of its tribal clients and actively works with social workers and legal counsel for the other parties to keep Indian families together. Many tribes rely on their tribal ICWA worker to represent their interests in state court. While such practice is common, it is not always ideal, since formal legal representation best practice is to be represented by trained and licensed legal professionals who can afford tribes all the protections of the attorney-client relationship. Attorneys, unlike tribal social workers, can protect tribal statements with attorney/client confidentiality and cannot be called as a witness against the tribe.

With four offices strategically located throughout California, CILS is an effective advocate in court, working with social service agencies, and encouraging family reunification and cultural preservation.

The greatest resource to the continued existence and integrity of Indian tribes is their children.
Why Should Tribes Participate in ICWA Cases?
If the tribe acknowledges the child as a member or eligible for membership, all of ICWA's substantive requirements apply even if the tribe does not intervene. The tribe must be consulted with respect to the placement of the child and case planning for both the Indian parents and the Indian child. Case plans must use the available resources of the tribe, extended family members, other Indian service agencies and individual Indian caregivers.
Providing representation in cases that involve issues unique to Native Americans .
These include:
Jurisdictional and tribal sovereignty issues
Economic development
Tribal election oversight
Governing documents and code
(Enrollment, Assignment, Elections)
drafting and revision
Fee-to-trust acquisitions and protection of trust assets
Federal recognition
Developing tribal justice systems
(Tribal Courts and Law Enforcement)
Individual trust allotments
Will drafting and probate of Indian Land/trust assets
Indian students' rights
Civil rights related to race or Indian religion
Indian income-related tax benefits and exemptions
Tribal representation in Indian Child Welfare Act cases
Tribal customary adoption
Eligibility of Indians for special benefits programs
"CILS did an excellent job. I thought I
was going to be in trouble with the IRS for a long time." 
Quote from client
member of the
Pala Band of Mission Indians

Did You Know

When you support CILS, you support the rights of individual Native Americans and tribal self-determination, self-empowerment and justice. CILS's victories and accomplishments in Indian Country require your generous support. We encourage you to support our Indian legal advocacy efforts.

California Indian 

Legal Services

609 S. Escondido Blvd.
Escondido, CA 92025
Phone (800) 743-8941

Phone (760) 746-8941
Fax (760) 746-1815



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